The Federal Election Commission decided Monday that the nation's new campaign finance law will not apply to most political activity on the Internet.
In a 6-0 vote, the commission decided to regulate only paid political ads placed on another person's Web site.
The decision means that bloggers and online publications will not be covered by provisions of the new election law. Internet bloggers and individuals will therefore be able to use the Internet to attack or support federal candidates without running afoul of campaign spending and contribution limits.
"It's a win, win, win," Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, adding that the rule would satisfy concerns of campaigns, individuals and the Internet community about whether the campaign finance law applies to Internet political activity.
Ellen Weintraub deserves special credit. She was the Dem commissioner who really came around to our view of the issues and I think really got what our primary point was -- that regulations which make total sense in the "real world" can't easily be reapplied to the internet in a way that makes any sense and that the money/power link is largely absent in the virtual world.
And, also kudos to the Republican commissioners, including Chairman Toner and former commissioner Brad Smith, for being on board the whole time. This could have been an utter disaster, but it appears to have all worked out in the end...